Workers Prefer Consistent Jerks Over Loose Cannon Bosses

Generally, humans are more comfortable when things are predictable, and new research indicates that even applies to our bosses. Michigan State University scientists divided 160 college students into two rooms and gave them a stock-pricing task. The students were told that the participants in the other room would act as their supervisor, but in reality the researchers sent them feedback. A third of the students were always treated fairly, a third were always treated unfairly, and the final third received erratic treatment. The scientists monitored the heart rates of participants in order to track their stress levels and found those who were treated inconsistently experienced more stress than those who were treated unfairly all the time. Study co-author Brent Scott says it appears people value consistency and predictability in fair treatment as much or more than fair treatment itself. He adds, “Let’s not lose sight of the fact that the best outcomes for employees occurred when their supervisors were consistently fair. However, if supervisors are going to be unfair, the results suggest that they would be better off behaving that way all of the time.”